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In-Box Review
135
Iraqi Checkpoint
U. S. Army Checkpoint Iraq
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by: Keith Middleton [ KBM ]

Introduction

Master Box has attracted a lot of attention recently for the interesting variety of figures they have been releasing. Master Box has proven they are willing to take a chance on producing figures other than another set of pointing World War II Germans. This set continues in that vein as it is a four-figure set of U.S. Army soldiers manning a checkpoint in Iraq.

Review

The set comes packed in a side-opening box a little larger than your standard Dragon figure set box. The kit has attractive box art portraying four U.S. Army soldiers of the 1st Cavalry Division manning a checkpoint in Iraq. The soldiers are all wearing the Army Combat Uniform in the universal three-color camouflage pattern. This uniform first went into service in 2005. The back of the box provides the assembly guide by way of a numbered sprue. The back of the box also provides a color painting guide that is keyed only to Vallejo paints.

When you open the box you find a single plastic-wrapped sprue with 68 parts. The sprue itself does not have identifying numbers which, as already mentioned, are shown exclusively on the back of the box. There is a moderate amount of flash on many of the parts. In addition, there are sizable attachment points that could prove troublesome when removing parts from the sprue, especially the weapons, the SAW in particular. There are some minor mold seams that have to be dealt with. In addition, when I removed the bagged sprue from the box, I immediately noticed the barrel of the M14 rifle was bent in an unnatural position. Another member of the Houston Armor Club purchased two boxes of these figures at the recent Austin, Texas AMPS contest and he reports the M14ís in those sets have the same problem. He was confident the barrel could be fixed, I am not so sure as it is quite delicate.

In terms of the quality of the molding, this set reminds me of older Dragon sets and the molding does not come close to matching the crispness of detail found in more recent Dragon offerings. In fact, I have included a comparison photo of one of the Master Box figures alongside a Dragon figure I built for a review of a recent Dragon release and in my opinion, the Master Box figure just cannot compete with the Dragon. I must admit I was somewhat disappointed in the quality of the faces in this set as it does not match the quality of the faces in another Master Box set I previously reviewed (Supplies at Last).

I went ahead and assembled one of the figures leaving off only the M16. Assembly was straightforward, the fit is good with only a few gaps that will have to be dealt with.

Returning to the box art, Master Box portrays four soldiers, two obviously Caucasian, one obviously African-American, and one possibly Hispanic, Asian, or even African-American. I was impressed that Master Box would put out a figure set that matched the diversity found in the U.S. military. I was disappointed when I examined the actual figures (as well as the painting instructions) because there is no doubt the figures are all Caucasian.

Conclusion

With the problems highlighted above, I think these figures provide an economical option for a modeler looking for up-to-date U.S. Army figures.
SUMMARY
Highs: This set should prove popular with modern armor enthusiasts as it provides a plastic option for figures to stand next to the recent flurry of up-armored Humvees and other vehicles seen in Iraq since 2005.
Lows: The quality of the molding is not up to the recent standard seen from other model companies.
Verdict: A good, not great modern figure set that provides an alternative to the higher priced resin sets.
Percentage Rating
85%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 3591
  Suggested Retail: $14.95
  Related Link: DragonUSA Item Page
  PUBLISHED: Nov 10, 2011
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 86.67%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 84.05%

Our Thanks to Dragon USA!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Keith Middleton (kbm)
FROM: TEXAS, UNITED STATES

Copyright ©2019 text by Keith Middleton [ KBM ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

You did a very nice job on the review. I especially appreciated the crisp image contrasting one of the Master Box figures alongside a Dragon figure, which clearly highlighted the superior quality of the latter. It's detail like this --- not readily apparent when you first open the box --- that can make all the difference in a finished diorame. Thank you!
NOV 10, 2011 - 05:26 AM
Thanks for the review. On a sidenote, I don't know why Dragon stopped their modern Elite Force Series sets with the U.S. Marines one in 2003...a long time to wait for some new plastic ones. One could argue that one should buy their modern GIs from resin companies. Still, only plastic gives four to a set, not two like resin.
NOV 10, 2011 - 06:32 AM
Keith Having been working on the figures myself I would tend to agree with your comments. I also agree with the comments about the comparison with Dragon Figures. Having said that I get 4 reasonable good figures for £9, whereas four resin figures cost that each. I do think that a good paint job will bring the figures to life and they will be great alongside a Bronco Humvee Thanks for the review Cookie
NOV 11, 2011 - 04:20 AM
A very useful set for the money over all. If I were to nit pick anything, it would be that they portray the soldiers on the box cover with the now ubiquitous wrap around sun glasses being worn by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet the kit lacks them. Additionally, the M4 variant is so commonly carried by troops that it would be preferable to the M16s depicted on the models, especially in the case of the figure with the vertical fore handguard grip equipped rifle. Otherwise a most welcome set.
JAN 27, 2012 - 10:30 AM
Nice...an other set with a SAW that does not have a solid stock..why can't companys get it right...all the SAW's I have seen have a solid stock, not the one we are given by almost every company..I know it is not a German figure set..but damn..least get the little things right
FEB 06, 2012 - 08:01 AM
Yup, I think the modification work order for the SAW stocks went out in the late 80's early 90s? There are three stocks they could have used, and they went still went with the wrong one. Regardless, that's not even an M249, it's a Minimi so you'd need to replace it with a Live Resin gun to have it with US forces. I think it would work for UAE in Afghanistan, and French and British forces as well though. The funny part is the box art illustration shows the correct stock.
FEB 10, 2012 - 07:38 AM
   

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